In 2014, a Dementia Village was opened in San Lois Obispo, California, by an organization named Dementia Village Architects. The goal is the same as the special experimental towns near Amsterdam and in Norway that give people with dementia, the only inhabitants, a chance to live a normal life in a home-like setting where they can stay active.
Rather than being institutionalized in a nursing home, the inhabitants live in a gated and secured community and go shopping whenever they please at various village businesses such as a grocery store and barbershop staffed by individuals trained in dementia care.
That village close to Amsterdam is Hogewey with restaurants, shops, and even a movie theater. Surprisingly, this is home to 152 men and women who have severe dementia. The 23 residential units are each shared by 6 to 8 residents. The apartments surround a courtyard with ponds, fountains, flowers and benches.
Care is provided around the clock by 240 “villagers” who are trained caregivers and geriatric nurses who dress in street clothes. Everything is taken care of from meals eaten family style to personal care assistance to administering medications to planned activities.
The cost to build the community was over $25 million with $22 million funded by the Dutch government. The residents pay approximately $7,000 a month. Hopefully this Dementia Village concept will spread to the rest of the world. Switzerland and Germany have done studies on Hogewey and may well be the next countries to create this type of living.